Pet Food Recall – Top Five Reasons

pet food recall cats

Pet parents need to know the top reasons for a pet food recall. Many issues include low-quality ingredients, contamination, and mold issues.

Why are pet foods recalled?

There are five different reasons for a pet food recall. Unfortunately, many pet parents may not realize their animal is sick from eating a particular food or diet until they begin to show symptoms, including diarrhea or vomiting. 

Here are the Top Five Reasons for a Pet Food Recall

1. Toxins including moldy ingredients like grain

Recently, the pet industry witnessed the deadliest pet food aflatoxin recall, and many animals passed away. It is said the company failed to identify and implement preventive controls. Also, aflatoxin levels in samples were “sky-high,” according to reports by the FDA. 

Aflatoxins are toxins produced by the mold Aspergillus flavus. At high levels, aflatoxins can cause death and severe illness in pets. Aflatoxin can be produced by mold in grains, especially drought-stressed corn. Even if there is no visible mold, these toxins can be present in dog food.

2. Salmonella contaminated pet food

Salmonella is caused by a wide-spread bacterial organism that can impact many species of animals, including dogs and cats.

In dogs, salmonella can be passed through contaminated pet foods and treats. The most common symptom of salmonella in dogs is diarrhea. Your dog’s diarrhea should resolve in 24 to 48 hours in most cases, but you may need to make a trip to the vet. 

Bulk pig ear treats with salmonella were recalled a few years ago.  

3. Pet food complaints 

On many occasions, pet parents play the most significant role. According to the FDA, when people report pet food issues, the FDA may investigate if the brand needs to be reevaluated. 

“Consumers can play a significant public health role by reporting to the FDA any adverse reactions or other problems with products the agency regulates. The FDA is responsible for ensuring that foods are safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled.

It also oversees:

  • Medicines
  • Medical devices (from bandages to artificial hearts)
  • Blood products
  • Vaccines
  • Cosmetics
  • Animal food (including pet food) and animal drugs
  • And electronic products that emit radiation (such as microwave ovens and video monitors),

Overseeing these products ensures they are safe and effective. The FDA also regulates tobacco products.”

4. Mistake in labeling 

The labels on the back of pet food must always contain accurate facts about the ingredients. If there is a mistake on a label, pet food may be recalled. Many ingredients should be avoided. These ingredients may not result in a pet food recall, but some ingredients need to be avoided. 

“Pet owners and veterinary professionals have a right to know what they are feeding their animals. The pet food label contains a wealth of information if one knows how to read it. Do not be swayed by the many marketing gimmicks or eye-catching claims. If there is a question about the product, contact the manufacturer or ask an appropriate regulatory agency.” 

5. Different bacteria, pathogens, or even phenobarbital (commonly known as the euthanasia drug)

The FDA is monitoring for reports of any pet illnesses associated with pentobarbital contamination in food products. There should also never be bacteria or a pathogen in any pet food. 

“Pentobarbital is a barbiturate drug that is most commonly used in animals as a:

  1. Sedative,
  2. Anesthetic,
  3. Or for euthanasia.

The FDA’s preliminary evaluation of the testing results of Gravy Train samples indicates that the low level of pentobarbital present in the withdrawn products is unlikely to pose a health risk to pets. However, any detection of pentobarbital in pet food is a violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Simply put, pentobarbital should not be in pet food. The FDA is investigating to learn the potential source and route of the contamination.”

Where can I get alerts about pet food recalls?

Consumers can report complaints about pet food products electronically through the Safety Reporting Portal or by calling their local FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators.

A great resource to learn about recalled pet products (for salmonella contamination or other issues) is through the American Veterinary Medicine’s website. 

Top symptoms if your dog is exposed to a toxin 

Anytime you see any of these signs, you need to call your vet immediately. If you suspect your dog or cat is sick due to something he ate, you should quickly write down a list of anything your pet may have gotten into over the previous 24 hour period. 

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Inappetance 
  • Drooling
  • Lethargy 
  • Coma
  • Loss of Coordination

Many health issues result from low-quality ingredients. So it’s important to know what to look for when you read the back of the kibble bag. Avoid any food with the following ingredients:  

Always look for high-quality ingredients in a pet’s diet

  • Avoid meat by-products 
  • Generic fat source
  • Artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors
  • Sweeteners like Xylitol 

Our staff helps guide customers on what food to buy

The staff at all three of our stores may answer questions about the best food brands for your dogs and cats.